Although a fish oil supplement for osteoarthritis, as well as other nutritional and natural products may be helpful, consumers are wise to carefully investigate anything that is advertised as a “natural cure for osteoarthritis”. Some can be a waste of time or money. Others could even cause additional health problems.
Choosing the right fish oil supplement for osteoarthritis can be a chore. There are a large number of products on the market. Dietary supplements are a big business. In the United States, 74% of adults use some form of Complementary or Alternative Medicine, abbreviated CAM. Many are looking for a natural cure for osteoarthritis.
Of the adults who use CAM, mind-body medicine, including prayer for health reasons, is used the most. About 19% use natural products, such as dietary supplements or mega-vitamins. 11.7% use a fish oil supplement for osteoarthritis or for other health reasons. Back pain, neck pain, joint pain and arthritis are among the most common conditions for which CAM therapies are used.
Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish oil have been shown in numerous studies to reduce inflammation. For example, on the University of Maryland Medical's website, they state:
"Several articles reviewing the research. . . . conclude that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce tenderness in joints, decrease morning stiffness, and allow for a reduction in the amount of medication needed for people with rheumatoid arthritis. "
Also the same website mentions: “. . . . several test tube studies of cartilage-containing cells have found that omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage. Similarly, New Zealand green lipped mussel. . . . another potential source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength, and enhance walking pace in a small group of people with osteoarthritis.
When choosing a fish oil supplement for osteoarthritis, consumers should avoid products that contain vitamin A, which is found in cod liver oil and other oils derived from fish liver. At large doses, vitamin A from fish or other animal sources can be toxic. Beta-carotene is a safer choice for vitamin A supplementation.
The recommended daily intake of omega 3 fatty acids is at least 1000mg for adults. Men need a little more. Although recommendations vary, a fish oil supplement for osteoarthritis should contain at least this amount. The oil should also be molecularly distilled or pharmaceutical grade and contain no contaminants, such as mercury or PCBs.
Although it would not be described as a natural cure for osteoarthritis, an extract from a shellfish known as the New Zealand green lipped mussel (which is mentioned by the University of Maryland's Medcial Website, is renowned in New Zealand but obscurely known in the United States, even though it is available here. In a clinical study at the Yonsei Medical Clinic, 80% of patients participating in the trial reported significant pain relief and improvement in joint function after 8 weeks of use.
In a statement released by the University of California, researchers refer to the mussel extract as showing “significant anti-inflammatory activity”. After comparing the anti-inflammatory action to that of other plant and marine oils, researchers found that the extract was much more potent. So, while it may not be a natural cure for osteoarthritis, a product that contains a combination of New Zealand green lipped mussel extract and a fish oil supplement for arthritis may relieve the pain and inflammation, while protecting the cartilage cushions in the joints from additional damage.
Dan Ho is editor of http://www.omega-3-fish-oil-guide.com/Fish_oil_arthritis.html Visit us for tips and advice on how to choose a quality omega 3 fish oil supplement with New Zealand green lipped mussel.